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Even the thought of living your life without an appropriately functioning vision is scary for almost all of us, and quite rightly so, because it is such an integral part of our life.
However, as you age, the probability of vision problems becomes more than just a scary thought.
According to National Eye Institute:
In approximately a quarter of people turning 65 years, clouding starts to develop in the eye’s natural
lens known commonly as “cataracts”. The likelihood of this clouding affecting your
vision increases with each passing decade of life, starting generally
after 40s. This prevalence rises to more than 50% by age 80.
Does a Natural Cure for Cataracts Exist?
The cold harsh reality is that no natural cure of cataracts exists until now, though many believe resorting to some healthy lifestyle practices may help with cataract prevention, such as:
Saying no to smoking/alcohol and managing health problems: From excessive smoking to alcohol consumption and health issues like diabetes, a host of such issues can contribute to increased likelihood of cataracts. So, manage them.
Consuming fruits and veggies: Adding essential minerals and vitamins by consuming fruits and vegetables is believed to cut down the risk of developing cataracts. (Best Foods to Eat When You Have Cataracts)
Eye protection: Exposure of your eyes to ultraviolet light is known to contribute in cataracts development. So, avoid it as well.
(Learn more on cataract prevention here).
What’s Considered to be the Best Treatment for Cataracts?
Cataract surgery is believed to be the best of cataracts treatment right now, and the sooner the better. (You can know more about cataract surgery and various of its types is this write-up: (Types of Cataract Surgery – Knowing Your Options Better)
However, if it’s not possible for you to get a cataract surgery right away due to any possible reason, making small changes in your lifestyle can still help you in managing your cataracts, such as:
Using brighter and better lighting while at work or home
Using anti-glare glasses whenever going outside
Using magnifying lenses while reading, writing or getting into activities that can strain your eyes in some way
New Prescription Glasses or Contact Lenses:
Early on, getting a new prescription for a pair of glasses or contacts for your changing vision can help you see well.
If your cataracts start hampering your daily-life activities like reading paper, watching TV, solving crossword puzzles or driving, your doctor might suggest surgery to get rid of it. The process involves removing the clouded lens and replacing it with an artificial new lens (commonly referred to as ‘Intraocular Lens’ or ‘IOL’). In fact, cataract surgery boasts of a really high success rate and 9/10 people getting the surgery end up with a better vision than before. Though rare, cataract surgery complications do occur, however.
Is There Any Research Going on Cure for Cataracts?
Of course, there is; the quest on how to cure cataracts continues. In a bid to find out cure for cataracts without surgery, scientists are busy exploring what causes the cataracts in the first place and how to find them as early as possible and treat them. NEI is also engaged in funding research on cure for cataracts, especially focusing cataracts cure without surgery. Some of the major milestones include:
i) Cataracts Causing Genes
What’s already known about cataracts is that environmental stresses like UV rays exposure, smoking and age-related wear and tear contribute to lens fiber degradation. According to NEI, some recent studies have resulted in identification of 37 genes associated with congenital cataracts (a variation of this eye disease) with high likelihood of many more, as indicated by a senior researcher associated with NEI Ophthalmic Molecular Genetics Department, J. Fielding Hejtmancik, M.D., Ph.D.
This type of research can be very critical in helping researchers learn more about the functioning of the lens and develop an understanding about people with higher risk of getting affected by cataracts. Currently, Hejtmancik’s team is involved in studying large families from India and Pakistan (two neighboring countries of the Indian subcontinent region) for better identification of relevant genes and any possible mutations in them that can play a role in development of cataracts. Exploring congenital cataracts, which is quite rare, can help researchers in better understanding the most common age-related cataracts.
ii) The Possibility of Reversing Lens Opacity Caused by a Crystallin Gene Mutation
Usha P. Andley, Ph.D., part of another NEI funded research being carried out at in a St. Louis based Washington University School of Medicine, is involved in exploration of various aspects of reversing the clouding of the lens caused by a gene mutation in crystallins in lens fiber cells. Crystallins refer to certain structural proteins folded in a specific manner in lens fiber cells and this is what lens transparency basically relies on.
As long as these crystallins remain stable, lens transparency remains normal, while it gets affected when they become unstable. Andley’s research has been able to identify that a chemical referred to as the “Compound 29” has the potential to reverse the lens opacity caused by the gene mutation in these crystallins. According to her, this may have already laid the foundation of developing a safe and effective topical drug treatment for cataracts; a potential cure for cataracts without surgery, in other words.
iii) Alternative Treatment Possibilities
Some highly valuable research leading to viable alternative treatment is also being led by tech-based ventures like IrisVision. At one hand, they have collaboration with world class universities and research institutions like Stanford and JOHNS HOPKINS School of Medicine and NEI, and at the other hand, they have partnered with tech giants like Samsung.
This has helped them develop an innovative low vision solution, which relies on both, the advanced academic and medical research for better understanding the mechanism of human eye as well as the advances in telecom and electronics industries to come up with this ingenious low vision solution known as the ‘IrisVision’ glasses.
You may consider IrisVision as the ‘Cataracts Glasses’ to simplify things, and the best part is that it addresses the low vision problems caused not only by cataracts, but a whole bunch of other vision threatening eye diseases, such as Glaucoma, Age-related Macular Degeneration, Retinitis Pigmentosa, Diabetic Retinopathy and so many more.
As a matter of fact, IrisVision is already helping countless people (of all ages and genders) reclaim their lost vision and independence. For instance, here is the story of Sevena, a 27 year old passionate lady from Montana suffering from Congenital Cataracts. IrisVision changed her life for good. You can have a look at IrisVision customer stories here for many other such inspirational stories.
Remember, there is always someone out there ready to offer the help you need. All you need to do is reach out in the right direction and make the best of what you have. With continued research on natural cure for cataracts, there is all likelihood of developing a viable cataracts cure without surgery soon and change millions of lives across the world. And until then, you can resort to a high-tech low vision solution like IrisVision.